Tucson 2017 Wrap Up: New Jewelry-Making Supplies and Hot Jewelry Trends
Another Tucson is in the books. Attending the Tucson gem shows (or gem, jewelry, bead, mineral, and fossil shows, as some call them) is always such a fun whirlwind, I sometimes forget all the cool jewelry-making supplies and trends I saw until I get back home and review my photos. Take a look back at some of the highlights with me, won’t you?
New Jewelry-Making Supplies from Tucson
ImpressArt’s Stamp Guides
When metal stamping, I actually prefer the more random look of letters that aren’t in perfect alignment. But when I saw the new ImpressArt Mandala stamp packs last year, I wondered how I’d ever create those perfectly aligned, mesmerizing designs that I loved–and wondered who the miracle-worker artists were who did them so well! In Tucson last week, I discovered the solution for stamping perfect mandalas (and other designs), every time: ImpressArt’s new Stamp Guides. These printed stickers simply stick over your blanks and guide your design or letter stamps to perfect placement. Each booklet of Stamp Guides includes pattern grid, circle guide, and straight guide stickers. Bonus: The Stamp Guides hold your blanks in place for no-slip stamping and no smashed thumbs!
Multipliers, Beadalon’s New Two-Sided Jewelry-Making Pliers
When you’re making jewelry, how many times do you wish you had an extra hand? While I can’t help you there, I can help you make better use of the hands you’ve got with Beadalon’s new time-saving MultiPliers. These brilliant pliers are two sets of pliers in one–chain nose and round nose on the same pliers. So a simple turn of the wrist can replace the time-consuming and groove-interrupting action of repeatedly putting down one type of pliers and switching to another type as you work. The folks at Beadalon continually amaze me with their great ideas.
New Leather Jewelry-Making Supplies from Susan Lenart Kazmer
Under the Ranger brand, Susan Lenart Kazmer is now offering the same leather cord that she uses in her own designs, in black or dark brown on cool wooden spools, as well as her own ICE Resin leather adhesive. But we know Susan for her resin and metal work, and while the leather is perfect for wearing your cast resin or mixed-media resin jewelry designs, she’s still making strides in the resin arena. Perk up your resin with color or sparkle using Susan’s four new on-trend ICE Resin Tints in rose quartz, emerald, turquoise, and amethyst and/or the new ICE Resin German Glass Glitter Shards, available in three colors as well as black, antique gold, and silver. The antique gold is my favorite, if it’s possible to have a favorite glitter!
Speaking of favorites . . . I’m also really in love with the new ICE Resin Squeegee. Yes, you read that right–a squeegee! I admit I love it mostly for what you can do with it: make resin paper. If you’ve ever used resin with paper ephemera that wasn’t properly sealed, you know that resin can seep into paper and give it an ethereal, translucent quality that can be quite attractive (as long as you didn’t just accidentally ruin your piece by achieving that effect). I love finding ways to turn mistakes into serendipitous discoveries, so the idea of purposefully turning paper into glass-like resin art paper is exciting, and this little squeegee will help you do just that.
Clay Revolution’s Five Star Metal Clay and ComposiMold
I’m always looking for new ways to use my torch (I like playing with fire, what can I say?). Plus I don’t have a kiln and love working with metal clay, so I was thrilled to find Carrie Story’s brand new American-made Five Star Metal Clay from Clay Revolution. Carrie described Five Star Metal Clay’s texture and firmness as a cross between Goldie and Prometheus clays.
Five Star Metal Clay is available in five colors (copper, red bronze, bronze, light bronze, and silver) and three can be torch fired. The higher the copper content, the easier they are to torch fire, naturally; so the copper, red bronze, and bronze can be torch fired–the light bronze and silver cannot. Carrie was pleased to share that all five varieties of Five Star Metal Clay can be fired in the kiln–at the same time!–with no special tricks or accommodations. How great is that?
Carrie also shared another product that I can’t wait to try: ComposiMold reusable mold-making material. Reusable, friends! Here’s how it works: Place the item you want to make a mold of in the bottom of a little bowl. Microwave the tub of ComposiMold and pour over the item in your little bowl. Once it’s set, you can use the mold to your heart’s content–and if it should ever get damaged or if you get tired of it or whatever, just melt it and use it again! Brilliant. ComposiMold comes in two varieties of firmness and flexibility, so you can get all the detail you want in your mold. You can use these molds for just about anything–metal clay, polymer clay, resin, and more.
Las Vegas Rhinestones Jewelry-Making Supplies: Prong Pushing Hand Tools & Leather Cuffs
We love to customize our jewelry, don’t we? Using the words, colors, and symbols we prefer. I’m very often asked where to find empty cup chain jewelry (like bracelets and necklaces), made for you to set your own rhinestones in any color palette you like. I love the possibilities of setting your own stones–but it always seemed like a lot of work . . . until now! The folks at Las Vegas Rhinestones have super easy-to-use Prong Pushing Hand Tools that allow you to quickly and easily set round and square Swarovski crystals in empty cup chain, securing all four prongs over the stone with one simple push.
In addition to these handy tools and a huge selection of crystals, Las Vegas Rhinestones also has an extensive line of high-quality, American-made empty cup chain jewelry, including bangles and leather cuffs. They even have empty snowflake pendants, perfect for setting your own stones so each snowflake can be one of a kind!
Fretz Maker Interchangeable Hammer and Cast-Iron Annealing Pans
Bill Fretz always has new jewelry-making supplies and tools in his booth that I want. This year, it was the new Fretz Maker interchangeable hammer, which holds a variety of metal and rubber faces. You can load the hammer up with your two most frequently used hammer faces, creating a customized hammer just for your work–but you can also change them out easily as you need to. It’s a budget-friendly, space-saving addition to any metalworker’s bench.
Bill also featured his new cast-iron annealing pans in two sizes, 6-1/2 inches and 13 inches. They rotate on their own bases and, as you can see on the smaller pan on the right, they have notches to hold soldering pads for double duty.
Hot Jewelry Trends Spotted in Tucson
Colorful Metals, Including Mixed Metals — My fellow Interweave jewelry editors and I learned in a trend presentation from Swarovski that colorful metals and color-change metals are going to be very popular in the next couple of years. Lilly Pilly has you covered for colorful metal with an extensive line of Patina Copper, Embossed Patina Copper, and Patterned Aluminum MeTal sheets in copper with a wide variety of patinas and colorful aluminum.
Pastels: Peach/Coral, Turquoise, Baby Blue, and Pink
In addition to being among Swarovski’s color palette for Spring/Summer 2018, I saw piles of beads, gemstone beads and cabochons in this pastel palette of sorbet and sunset colors. Turquoise, in all of its blue and green shades, is more ubiquitous than ever, in everything from colored resin to leather to actual genuine turquoise cabs and beads. Peach, coral, and pink are natural colorful companions for turquoise.
Fabric and Fiber Jewelry
Meredith Strauss imports colorful, lightweight crochet and other fiber jewelry from Turkey. Chains of crochet flowers and geometric shapes in lightweight fibers make perfect accessories for summer or anytime you just don’t want to be laden with heavy jewelry or metals.
Leather jewelry-making supplies are as hot as ever. I was happy to see that LillyPilly has expanded their leather offerings that I loved so much last year. More colors, shapes, and designs make super popular leather jewelry making more fun than ever. Circle pieces called Raindrops make perfect connectors and “links” in leather chain, and the twig-shaped “Bars” make great bails as well as bases from which to hang all kinds of fringe (see below).
Likely a natural progression from the still-thriving tassel trend, fringe is everywhere. In the Tierra Cast booth, I spotted loads of fringe in their new Dolce Vita designs (above), which featured fringe on necklaces and earrings, along with tassels and mixed media. I love the relaxed feel that leather, fringe, and fibers bring to jewelry making.
Fringe isn’t limited to fibers and leather, though. Some of my fellow editors and I fell for this fringed metal chain in a variety of metal finishes from Beads U Need.
If you didn’t make it to Tucson, you can find these new jewelry-making supplies directly from the retailers above. And you can still get in on the hot jewelry trends, too! Learn to make leather jewelry with Melissa Cable’s video Intermediate Leather Jewelry Making, master hammers and metalwork with Bill Fretz in his Metalsmith Essentials: Basic Jewelry Hammering and Forming video (or get the enviable hammer-filled kit with the video), and create your own colorful metal with more than 300 patina recipes in Matthew Runfola’s beautiful book, Patina.
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